US-China Public Opinion and Election Outlook

Eric Zheng

Hosted by the Committee of 100 and jointly organized by the Brunswick Group, the Committee of 100 presented a discussion on how the perception of Americans and Chinese towards each other has deteriorated over the last twelve months, and what the implications of such unfavorable sentiment could mean in the context of elections and trade. This event featured Peter Zysk, Director, Head of Insight, Brunswick Group Beijing and was moderated by C100 Member Eric Zheng, Chairman of Heng An Standard Life Insurance Company Limited (HASL).

In the middle of last year, Brunswick began tracking sentiment in China and the US to understand views on trade, the state of the bilateral relationship, and the impact of USChina tensions on business.

At the end of July, Brunswick completed their third wave of research. The research shows a sharp downturn in US opinion of China and Chinese opinion of the US. When they compare this data to other long-term tracking studies, it is clear that opinion on each side of the Pacific is at a historic low and in uncharted territory. As fresh as the data is, the rapid deterioration in the bilateral relationship in the past couple of months will only have accelerated what we’re seeing in the findings.

The latest findings shed important light on the environment today and the trend line. Some of the areas the findings touch include:

  1. How COVID-19 is straining the bilateral relationship
  2. Attitudes towards collaboration vs competition
  3. Impact the strained relationship is having on business
  4. Views on bilateral trade, investment, and supply chain linkages


Peter Zysk 
Director, Head of Insight, Brunswick Group Beijing

Peter is a data-driven strategist and the head of Brunswick Insight’s Asia practice, which provides opinion research and analytics for business-critical decisions. He has conducted research in more than 40 countries to help clients build better communications programs that are grounded in data and insight.
Peter is an expert on geopolitical issues and international public opinion. He is the author of Brunswick’s China Going Global research series, which has tracked global attitudes towards Chinese businesses since 2016. He also leads Brunswick’s USChina Trade Tracker polling, which monitors American and Chinese sentiment towards important issues in the bilateral relationship. He has briefed senior diplomats at the US and UK Embassies in Beijing on geopolitical issues, presented at the 2019 Hongqiao International Economic Forum (an affiliate program of CIIE) in Shanghai, and is often quoted in Chinese and international media about USChina business trends. Before joining Brunswick’s Beijing team, Peter spent four years in the firm’s Washington, DC office. Earlier in his career, Peter was a researcher on geopolitical issues at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, a leading think tank in Washington, DC. Peter holds a M.A. in International Affairs from American University’s School of International Studies and holds a B.A. in International Affairs and Journalism from Gonzaga University.


Eric Zheng
Chairman, Heng An Standard Life Insurance Company Limited
Member, Committee of 100

Eric Zheng is Chairman of Heng An Standard Life Insurance Company, a joint venture of Standard Life Aberdeen (SLA) in China. SLA is a leading asset management and life insurance company headquartered in the UK.

Eric is former Chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai. With over 3,000 members, AmCham Shanghai is the largest American chamber of commerce in Asia Pacific. Under his leadership, AmCham Shanghai played an active role in promoting mutually beneficial USChina trade relations.

Eric had a successful tenure with AIG, including serving as President & CEO of AIG China. He played a leading role in establishing AIG’s insurance subsidiary in China and in growing it into one of the most profitable general insurance companies in the country.

Prior to AIG, Eric served as the Principal Commercial Officer at the U.S. Consulate General in Guangzhou. As the most senior representative of the US Commerce Department in South China, Eric was responsible for assisting American companies in marketing their products and services to China and in doing business in the country.

Before working for the U.S. Department of Commerce, Eric was a management consultant with PwC in the U.S. He had increasing levels of responsibility including managing the China Desk, a consulting service that advised multinational companies on doing business in China.

Eric is active in a number of non-profit and charity organizations including as a member of the Committee of 100.

This event was held on October 8, 2020 at 5pm Pacific Time.

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